Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or population of any language that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses made a rubbish heap, because there is no other god who is able to save in this way. – Daniel 3:29
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon at the time of Daniel’s capture, had Daniel’s three friends (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah) thrown into the fiery furnace because they refused to bow down to (worship) the king’s idolatrous image. Ultimately, God delivered Daniel’s friends from their death sentence, prompting Nebuchadnezzar’s declaration and edict that all Babylon should worship the God of the Jews.
The faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (their Babylonian names) is practically incomprehensible to the Western church. I dare say that most who claim a salvation by grace through faith in Christ struggle to overcome “discomfort,” much less true physical danger. Yet, true saints will persevere if (or when) their opportunity to stand for Jesus comes. Those who know the One who saves forever will join their voices with the king of Babylon in proclaiming that there is no other God, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who is able to deliver from sin, shame, and eternal fire.
Today, join me in declaring that there is no other name that can deliver like this! What a beautiful name it is, the name of JESUS!
The early Church was married to poverty, prisons, and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity. – Leonard Ravenhill
Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brothers and sisters, and especially when they are strangers; and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we may prove to be fellow workers with the truth. – 3 John 1:5-8
In the late first century, men and women of God traveled from church to church sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and expanding His work into new frontiers. As they traveled, these people relied upon the gifts of local communities of believers to meet their needs in order that they might continually devote themselves to the work of the ministry. Though it appears that they were more than willing to do what was necessary to meet their own needs (“tentmaking”), the support of Christ followers eased the burden.
Things are no different today. There are still those who take the gospel into “dark” places around the world, missionaries (local and foreign) who need our support in order that they might continue to serve unhindered by the need to earn through secular employment. At the same time, many are able to use their vocation purposefully in an unreached place or among an unreached people, thereby providing for their own personal needs and, in some cases, even funding their own ministry.
No matter the situation, when we give to the work of God’s servants, we share in the fruit that effort bears. Let us continue to give in order that that they might go and go and go and go and keep going until the King of kings returns.
The Church must send, or the church will end. – Mendell Taylor
How precious also are Your thoughts for me, God! How vast is the sum of them! – Psalms 139:17
What in this world is God up to? I must confess that when it comes to the multitude of details that make up my life, most of the time I am not real sure! Oh, I have a general idea of where I am going day in and day out, but most of the time the big picture eludes me. Even when I think my “aim” is sure, the “target” is not always “in focus.”
We are all living at a unique time in history. Never before has uncertainty embraced the entire globe. Even if you are one of those who thinks everything is blown out of proportion, you must admit that the panic is real. Even if a physical disease is not ravaging the populace, anxiety and worry are.
Let’s assume that Christ-followers should behave differently. We should not diminish those who believe the panic is real, nor should we condemn those who think it is not. What we absolutely must do is grasp the unchanging truth that our Creator, Sustainer, and Savior knows the end from the beginning and sovereignly works all things according to His will.
As difficult as it may be, we cannot know how things will ultimately affect life as we know it, but we do know that our God will ultimately get the glory He deserves and, if this is our sole aim, His greatest glory, then we may be assured our paths are aligned. He has a plan. His plan is being accomplished. You are part of it.
An infinite God can dispatch the affairs of this universe in the twinkling of an eye, thus giving Him plenty of time for you. – Henry Norris Russell
Search me, God, and know my heart; put me to the test and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. – Psalms 139:23-24
Do you know anyone who enjoys being held accountable?
I think we all harbor the illusion that we live our lives independently of others, yet in truth we all answer to someone. It might be a boss, a friend, or even a child or spouse, but someone is watching our actions and will eventually call us to account. Even if we had no one else to fill this role, someone with a badge eventually would! We are all accountable to someone.
Above all, of course, there is accountability with the Creator. It makes no difference if a person believes in His existence. He is there. He not only knows our actions, but also our motives. The good thing is that God is not a cosmic “lawman” looking to bust us for bad behavior. He is a loving Father who seeks to make us glorious. Sound acceptable?
First, a person must acknowledge His Son, Jesus. Believe in Him. Trust Him. Then, the wonderful truth is that by inviting God’s searching and testing, He will lead you to a better, eternal and new you.
Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me; sanctification is God’s idea of what He wants to do for me. – Oswald Chambers
Keep deception and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, so that I will not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” And that I will not become impoverished and steal, and profane the name of my God. – Proverbs 30:9
As the nation of Israel grew exceedingly hungry on their journey to the Promised Land, God provided manna from heaven. Each morning they would arise to a fresh batch of this miraculous substance and with each passing day were taught to depend upon God’s provision. Hundreds of years later, while instructing His disciples in the practice of prayer, Jesus harkened back to that dependence and included this request to His Father, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Poverty (or just a simple need or want) can lead us to devise our own methods of obtaining what we desire. Wealth, on the other hand, can often lead us to trust in our own provision. A person might come to believe in their own abilities and deny the God who provided the opportunity to do so. Since both poverty and wealth have the ability to drive us away from complete dependence upon God, Solomon prayed for neither one.
Let’s face it, this life is sometimes “feast” and sometimes “famine,” but whichever it may be we need to learn to daily depend upon our Creator and Sustainer. Lord, please give us today our daily “bread” and may we be daily reminded that it is Yours to give.
Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is the first duty and the highest virtue of the creature, and the root of every virtue. And so pride, or the loss of this humility, is the root of every sin and evil. – Andrew Murray